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Oesophageal Transit Study (NEITS)

Patient information A-Z

Date Appointment time
Date Mon / Tues / Wed / Thurs / Fri ..../..../.... Appointment time .............

Please complete your appointment details FROM YOUR APPOINTMENT LETTER and bring this leaflet with you.

What is 'nuclear medicine'?

Nuclear medicine refers to the medical use of radioactive tracers for the diagnosis and sometimes treatment, of medical conditions.

Nuclear medicine tests are helpful to diagnose a wide variety of illnesses. The clinician that referred you to nuclear medicine will have already explained to you the reasons for having this test.

This leaflet is to explain your scan and provide you with some general information. The procedure will be fully explained to you when you attend. We are happy to provide additional information before hand and our contact details are on the back of this leaflet.

Benefits of nuclear medicine tests and are they dangerous?

Nuclear medicine procedures are commonly used diagnostic tools that utilise ionising radiation to obtain important clinical information.

There are small risks associated with the use of ionising radiation. Ionising radiation can cause cell damage that can, after many years or decades, contribute to the development of cancerous cells. This procedure carries only a very small chance of this happening to you.

Your doctor will have considered the risk and benefits of having the test before referring you to us. The benefits of the test outweigh the potential risk.

Will it hurt?

No, you will only be asked to swallow water containing a small amount of radioactive material. There are no side effects from this, and no restrictions following the test. You will be able to continue with your usual daily activities.

What is an Oesophageal transit study?

This test looks at how well the swallowing mechanism is working, to see if there is any hold up with the passage of liquid into the stomach.

Do I need to prepare for the test?


  • You must not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum from midnight before your appointment time. You may still drink small amounts of water, especially to take tablets.
  • If you are diabetic please bring your medication with you.
  • Please advise us if you are taking any medications for gastrointestinal problems, as you may be required to stop those 48 hours before your test.
  • Please also advise us if you have any tests on your gastrointestinal system within the week prior to this appointment.
  • Avoid clothes with metal buttons. You may be asked to remove metal objects (buckles, coins, jewellery) while the pictures are being taken.

How is the test carried out?

You will be given small amounts of radioactive water to drink through a straw. This will not taste abnormal.

We will perform 3 scans with you lying down and 3 scans of you standing up.

You will not be going into a ‘tunnel’, but you will need to lie/stand still for up to 5 minutes for each scan.

How long will the test take?

It will take up to 1 hour to complete the test.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is usual to avoid radioactive tests during pregnancy. Patients who know, or suspect that they are pregnant should contact the department before attending and tell the doctor or nurse before the start of the test.

Small amounts of some radioactive substances may appear in breast milk. Mothers who are breastfeeding should contact the department before attending and tell the doctor or nurse before the test.

What happens after the test?

You are free to go home or return to your ward. There are no restrictions following this test.

Your results will be reported and available from your referring clinician/ team or GP within 3 weeks after your appointment.

Family / friends

Due to the small size of the waiting area in Nuclear Medicine we ask that you please limit the number of people accompanying you for your visit.

Travelling abroad?

Please be aware that most airports have sensitive radiation monitors which detect very small amounts of radiation and may detect a residue trace from your test. We advise you keep and travel with your appointment letter if you are travelling within the next few days.

How to find / contact the department

The Nuclear Medicine department is located on level 3, in the outpatient end of the hospital. If you have any queries or cannot make your appointment please contact the department as soon as possible on 01223 217145.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151